In his final public remarks as governor of New York on Monday, Andrew Cuomo complained about what he called the unfairness of the state investigation that concluded he sexually harassed 11 women who worked for him.
“You know me. I am a fighter, and my instinct is to fight this, because it is unfair and unjust in my mind,” Cuomo said in prerecorded remarks that aired on Monday.
Cuomo said he had decided not to contest impeachment proceedings in the state legislature because “prolonging this situation could only cause governmental paralysis”.
As Cuomo leaves office, New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, another Democrat, takes over, becoming the first woman to run the state of New York.
Hochul, 62, is due to be sworn in at the State Capitol in Albany at 00:01am ET (04:01 GMT), and has promised a change in style, saying no one would ever accuse her, as the attorney general did Cuomo, of creating “a toxic work environment”.
Hochul inherits challenges including a continuing COVID-19 pandemic as she takes over a state government that has faced criticism for inaction in Cuomo’s distracted final months in office.
Hochul, a Democrat, announced the appointment of two women to top positions in the governor’s office: Karen Persichilli Keogh will become secretary to the governor and Elizabeth Fine will be chief legal counsellor.
Hochul has said she will not keep anyone found to have behaved unethically during Cuomo’s tenure. At least 35 employees in the governor’s office have left since February, according to staff rosters.